In early 2013, Branching out: Fairtrade In Malawi, an impact study commissioned by Fairtrade Foundation and completed by the National Resources Institute (NRI) was published. The report was officially launched in Blantyre, Malawi on 30th April 2013. The report is part of longitudinal assessment, the first stage of which was completed in 2009. The study assesses impact of Fairtrade on five certified organizations, two small producer tea organizations:, Eastern Outgrowers Trust and Sukambizi Association Trust, one small groundnut producer organization, MASFA and one small producer sugar organization Kasinthula Cane Growers Association. The launch event hosted in Blantyre was attended by representatives from the producer organizations that were part of the study and others that were not part of the study, public and private stakeholder organizations and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade & Industry and partner organizations. A summary of findings from the Impact report was presented and discussions conducted on challenges and recommendations of each of the sector, Tea, Sugar and Groundnuts. The full report can be found on http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/includes/documents/cm_docs/2013/C/1_CS0237_Malawi_FinalLR.pdf
There is also a blog written by Vidya Rangan, Senior Research and Impact Manager, Fairtrade Foundation which can be found on http://fairtradeblog.tumblr.com/post/47465282375/fairtrade-in-malawi-what-next-to-build-a-sustainable

On July 26th 2013, MFTN organized a fairtrade Breakfast under the theme “Accessing Finance for Fairtrade Producers”.  The event took place at Malawi Sun hotel and was graced by Hon. Sosten Gwengwe, MP, Minister of Trade, Industry & Private Sector development as a guest of honor. In attendance were MFTN members, stakeholders and representatives from private sector, local and international NGOs. This years’ event was supported by ResponsAbility; an asset management firm based out of Nairobi. MFTN members were able to display their products at an exhibition organized alongside the Breakfast.

Fairtrade imposes strict adherence to its standards including processes along the entire value chain. It is therefore important to constantly provide producers with updated information regarding standards, principles and production and market requirements.

In recognition of the above, with financial support from VSO Malawi, MFTN organized sector workshops for producers engaged in production and marketing of fair-trade crops currently certified in Malawi i.e. Coffee, Tea, Sugar (cane) and Ground Nuts. Overall objective of the workshops is to equip producers with relevant and adequate information about fairtrade standards, production and market.
Some of the topics presented during the workshops included;

  • Climate Change, main causes & its impact
  • Marketing-understanding importance of marketing & its Impact
  • Child Labour and Protection
  • Fairtrade& Business Development
  • General health effects of chemicals,Labelling of Chemicals Containers, Chemical Storage Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • Intergrated Pest Management system
  • Guidelines for Emergency Measures in case of Pesticide Poisoning
  • Adaptation and Mitigation

The workshops were conducted on the following dates and venues

  • 17th April 2013; Mzuzu Planters Union, Coffee Sector
  • 7th May 2013; Mulanje Golf Club-Tea Sector
  • 12th July 2013; Mchinji-Groundnuts, Mchinji
  • 4th October 2013; Blantyre Lodge, Sugar Sector


MFTN together with VSO Malawi office organized a one day study tour of Kawalazi Tea Estate for VSO Volunteers under the Secure Livelihoods Programme in Malawi. Led by Mr. Dagrous Msiska, Secure Livelihoods Programme Manager, the volunteers from different parts of the world were received at the factory by Mr. Kenneth Kabege, Operations Manager in charge of Fairtrade together with other management team. They explained to the volunteers the history of the Estate, fairtrade system and its advantages and took the volunteers on a guided tour of the estate and the factory.  The volunteers were able to better appreciate the fairtrade system and how it supports producers in the region.

The Africa Fairtrade Convention (AFC), Africa’s only producer driven event that focuses on sustainability and ethical trading will take place in Cape Town 25th -29th November 2013.  Register now!! For details on registration, programme and other details visit: www.africafairtradeconvention.net

MFTN has joined a partnership including Shared Interest Foundation (UK), the Rwandan Forum for Alternative Trade (RWAFAT) and Swaziland Fair Trade (SWIFT). The main purpose of the partnership project funded by the Commonwealth Foundation is ‘Dialogue and learning amongst fair trade networks in East and Southern Africa’

By joining the partnership MFTN commits to work in collaboration towards the joint aims of this project for the period from 1st October 2013 to 30th September 2015. Project Objectives include:

  • To foster dialogue between 3 in-country networks, creating shared understanding and exploring new ideas .
  • To promote critical reflection of successes and challenges in sustaining viable in-country fair trade networks.
  • To collaborate on joint activities to allow greater networking and sharing of benefits
  • To build the capacity of staff through learning from successes and failures of techniques and methods employed by others.